Bramble Tart with Creme Patissiere and a chocolate pastry base
To take a break from my regimented baking routine, I branched out like a maniac into the world of pastry. Pastry is one of those things that has taken me quite a while to get right, but that’s not to say it’s difficult. It’s not. Apart from puff. Puff can f-off. This pastry is a short (i.e. flaky) deep chocolate tart base that goes perfectly with deep flavoured fruits and some form of cream. I went for both a creme-patissiere (i.e baker’s custard) and a chantilly cream. There would be loads of variations on this. I shan’t name them. I have a life. This blog does not support that fact obviously. But hey. Work with what you’ve got right?
Ingredients for pastry
- 250g of COLD salted butter
- 450g of COLD plain flour
- 40g of high-end cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
- 20g of icing sugar
- 9 tbsp water
- Greaseproof paper and ceramic beads (or dry rice)
- A large tart tin (metal with removable base is best- Tesco does a good one)
Ingredients for creme-patissiere
- 4 egg yolks (large eggs)
- 60g of caster sugar
- 25g of plain flour
- 2 tbsp of corn flour
- 350ml of milk
- Flavouring (essences only)
Ingredients for chantilly cream
- 500ml of whipping cream (double will do)
- 40g of icing sugar
- 2 shots of a fruit liquer (or vanilla essence) I used chambord
piping bags/nozzles if wanted
fruit for decoration
- Before starting, make sure both the flour and the butter are cold, this will make your job SO much easier.
- Cut the butter into chunks about 1-2cm wide, no need to be neat with this
- With your hands make breadcrumbs by adding the butter to the flour, cocoa and sugar. Do this by rubbing between your fingers. It should look like lightly golden sand.
- Next add the water, try 6tbsp at first then add water if needed. Use your hands to bring the dough together.Literally squeezing it lightly together.
- It will soon form a mostly dry ball of dough that can be rolled around the bowl. When its the correct consistency it should crack around the sides slightly when flattened.
- Clingfilm this ball for at least an hour.
- Turn on oven to 180 C
- Lightly dust a surface with plain flour and place your unwrapped pastry on the surface.
- Make sure your hands are as dry and cold as you can get them, this makes everything a lot easier as you do not want the butter in the pastry to melt.
- Using a floured wooden rolling pin, make a basic flattened circle shape
- From the middle, roll away from you forward. Turn the pastry 45 degrees either way and repeat all around. At half way, turn the pastry over. If the edges flake a lot, overlap the fissure and roll over
- The result should be a nicely flat (about 5mm) thin sheet of chocolate pastry which can be lifted.
- Place 1/3 of the circle onto your rolling pin to act as a hold for one side and use a hand to support the other. Transfer the circle to the tin, it should be at least a couple of inches too wide for the tin.
- Lightly press in the centre and work your way to the sides, tucking the pastry in. When it gets to the wall of the tin, use a big of extra pastry to push the ‘corners’ in and also to push the walls of the pastry into the divets of the tin giving a nice effect. The walls of pastry should slightly exceed the height of the tin.You can neaten now with a sharp knife.
- Prick the bottom of the tin multiple times with a fork to let air out
- Place a large piece of baking parchment over your pastry and then fill with beads. Make sure to equally distribute and push them right to the walls.
- Refridgerate for 20min
- Put in oven for 7-10mins at 180 C (fan assisted)
- Remove, it and the walls may have dropped down, this is normal. Now is your chance to neaten the pastry if you haven’t already (I sometimes neaten once in the tin at the beginning)
- Remove the beads and paper and re-bake for another 7 min.
- The pastry will be ready when hard to the touch. If it isn’t, return to the oven for another few mins.
- Take out of the oven and leave to completely cool. It should already have retracted away from the walls of the tin.
- You have a tart case!
Now it’s time for the insides! These are ridiculously easy to do. Just keep an eye on them!
- People make out that custards are hard to make. They aren’t, they just require a lot of attention. Never stop stirring! This one is a baker’s custard which is a lot denser and thick, meaning it sets and can be used to fill or hold other layers.
- Start by combining the egg yolks with the sugar, flour and corn flour. This will form a thick paste. Do this in a large glass bowl. You can place essences for flavouring in here too.
- Next on a medium heat, pour the milk (can be any but I prefer whole for this) into a pan and bring to the point of boiling. Stir with a whisk constantly at this point, it’ll tend to burn on the bottom if not. Keep it moving people!
- On the first sign of bubbles, transfer (whilst whisking the egg yolk mixture) gently but quickly pour the heated milk onto the egg yolk mixture. This will incorporate it into the milk without the egg being ‘cooked’
- Whisk for 3 secs then instantly transfer back into the pan and keep whisking.
- After a minute or so, the mixture with significantly thicken. When it’s at a jam-jelly like consistency, pour straight into your base and spread out. Don’t worry if it lumps at all, that won’t be noticed. It should create a nice thinnish layer on the bottom. Repeat if you’d like it thicker!
- Simple as. Whip the cream with the sugar, then add the liquor as you’re still whipping. When it’s at a thick (not pourable) consistency, stop! Overworking it makes piping it hard.
- Fill a piping bag and pipe with a circle-ended nozzle in cursive ‘e’ shapes. This will make a ‘rope’ like effect around the edge.
- You can do the same for the centre and then use fruit to decorate. I like to cut strawberries in half and show the cut side.
DONE. Simple as. Lots of explanation but not much effort. You can do lots of versions of this and if you just want normal pastry, omit the icing sugar and cocoa and replace with the same quantity of plain flour!